Although there is currently no cure for autism or one effective treatment for ASD, a variety of therapies and interventions can alleviate symptoms and improve learning. Research7 demonstrates that pre-school diagnosis and interventions yield better results. As the brain of young children is still undergoing training, early intervention gives children a better chance of developing their full potential and can make a big difference in the lives of many affected children. However, it is never too late to intervene and treatments will be beneficial regardless of the age of the people diagnosed.
Due to the continuum of autism, a wide range of supports may be needed. For example, some people need intensive help and constant supervision just to spend the day safe. Others require only special help to communicate or facilitate their social integration. The ideal treatment plan is a combination of therapies and interventions tailored to each child. These programs and treatments are very numerous and their implementation varies greatly from one country to another. The cultural variables (educational means, place of disability, ethical values), economic imperatives and the advancement of knowledge on autism are factors that partly explain these variations in management and the absence of an international consensus .
Note: Various types of interventions can be effective in accompanying people with autism. The main approaches are explained in this fact sheet, but this is not an exhaustive list21.
Applied Behavior Analysis or Applied Behavior Analysis is one of the best documented therapies to date, called ABA. Its goal is to structure and reinforce new learning, such as learning to talk, play, interact with others and reduce inappropriate behavior such as anger or self-mutilation. Acquiring these skills eventually allows people with autism to achieve independence. The technique is however costly and requires an intense parental investment for several years. The child must be stimulated 20 to 40 hours per week individually with a trained professional. Often, parents are trained in ABA to lead the treatment team and hire others to help with treatment.
The Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). In 1987, Dr. Ivar Lovaas published the results of an experiment conducted at the University of California. For two years, 19 autistic children aged between 35 and 41 months underwent intensive behavioral intervention at 40 hours per week. In nearly half of the cases, they noted such an improvement that children with autism did not distinguish themselves from other children and were able to live satisfactorily thereafter. In the other half of the cases, most of the children treated have made significant progress and some have seen little improvement.
The treatment and education of children with autism or suffering from communication disabilities is the TEACCH (Treatment and Education of the Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children) method. Developed in California in the 1970s, it is based on the premise that the learning environment must be adapted to the autistic child and not the other way round. A lot of visual clues are used, for example, in a classroom, the school material is clearly identified so that the students have access to it autonomously.
Interventions focused on socialization
The Floor Time method or RDI Relationship (Development Intervention Program) is a form of gaming therapy that takes into account the six stages of emotional development. We stimulate by the play of the capacities of social exchange and of emotional regulation. Children need to go through these steps in order to move on to further learning.
The Early Start Denver Model is based on gambling and can begin in autistic children as young as 18 months from the first visible signs. The method combines individual sessions with a therapist, in a day nursery and at home. It aims to interest the child in activities and to encourage